Need Help with Research on Paul and Suffering

Currently in my thesis research I am looking at Paul’s perspective on and theology of suffering. I was hoping any of you out there could offer bibliographic items that are seminal or highly recommended on this. What I have been working with so far is:

Jervis, L.A. At the Heart of the Gospel (2007).

Gorman, M.J. Cruciformity (2001).

Smith, Barry D. Paul’s Seven Explanations of the Suffering of the Righteous (2000).

Harvey, A.E. Renewal Through Suffering (1996).

Bloomquist, G. The Function of Suffering in Philippians (1993).

Pate, C.M. The Glory of Adam and the Afflictions of the Righteous: Pauline Suffering in Context (1993)

Hafemann, S. Suffering and Ministry in the Spirit (1990).

1981 Suffering and Martyrdom in the NT (FS for G.M. Styler)

I also plan on reading some Moltmann.  What else can anyone recommend (especially with a view towards Paul in particular or NT in general)?


11 thoughts on “Need Help with Research on Paul and Suffering

  1. Nijay,

    This topic is something I’m very much interested in (not just in Paul however). You’ve already got a great list here. A few random thoughts:

    (1) I’m convinced that one area that needs major research work is the role of the messianic woes in Paul’s perception of his ministry and that of other Christians (see O’Brien and Dunn commentaries on Col. 1:24). This ties in with Imitation of Christ and perhaps pistis Christou (subj gen). Gorman has a long paragraph on the messianic woes, I think. But Pitre’s dissertation would really be the first port of call in recent lit–even though it’s not on Paul. Seems to me the wider Jewish (and I would argue, early Xian) expectation of woes is still relevant and has not been fully played out in the life of Jesus (pacePeter Bolt), making it relevant not just for Jesus but for Paul and all Christians. I note the connection between eschatology (entrance into the kingdom, giving of the Spirit, etc) and suffering: 1 Thes 1:6-7, Acts 14:22, Rom. 8:17, etc.

    (2) On suffering in Matt, see Dale Allison’s, “Structure, Biography Imitatio in Matthew” (or some similar title), in The Four Gospels, FS F. Neirynck 1992ish.

    (3) On suffering in John, you might try Ed Donnelly, Glory and Suffering in John (available at Beginning with Moses site).


  2. Sorry, (4) I’d add Michael P. Knowles, We Preach Not Ourselves: Paul on Proclamation, a new text just out. Deals with this question from the point of view of Paul’s own self-presentation.

  3. While Moltmann is certainly important, I believe you would benefit even more from reading Luther. Moltmann takes what Luther says and goes down a different road. Again, he’s worth reading, but you’ll get more out of the guy who influenced him in that area.

  4. i wonder if Gaventa`s `Our Mother Paul` would be of any use. In it she gives a feminist interpretation of Paul giving birth to his communities of which suffering is a component. A for Moltmann apart from the man himself Richard Bauckham is a helpful guide, on Amazon there is a book by T. David Beck `The Holy Spirit Renewal of All Things`. Recently on Nick Norelli there was a blog discussion it`s under `A Day with Moltmann` I give some of my own comments on the man. If need any more let me know. It is worth noting that his earlier work to his more recent goes under a certain change as he loses his existential angst. Good luck reading.

  5. Peter Oakes: Philippians: From people to letter. Focuses on the socio-historical setting for suffering at Philippi, but also has some helpful theological insights.

  6. Adding as I remember.

    You might consider looking at J. J. Meggitt, Paul, Poverty and Survival (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1998), which may or may not be relevant for you.

  7. Again, sorry for the random trickle. Editing a paper of mine today I found Martin Braendl, Der Agon bei Paulus (Mohr Siebeck 2006). The Agon motif would be worth chasing up.

  8. Hi Nijay,
    I worked on Paul’s sufferings in 2 Corinthians for my thesis at Wales (completed in early 2007) and am now in final stages of revising it for publication by T&T Clark. Drop me a note and I’d be happy to provide you the biblio (karyong at stm dot edu dot my).

    BTW, I also graduated from Gordon-Conwell!

  9. Nijay,
    Hello. I’m chiming in late, but I remembered this post as I was reading some stuff recently. Here are some resources, most of which I discovered while reading Susan Eastman’s book, which is choc-full of comments about Paul and suffering; the topic is part of her thesis in that book:

    Susan Eastman, Recovering Paul’s Mother-Tongue

    Basil S. Davis, “The Meaning of proegraphe in teh Context of Galatians 3.1” NTS 45, 2 (1999): 208.

    Ernest Baasland, “Persecution: A Neglected Feature in the Letter to the Galatians” Studia theologica 38 (1994): 145-6

    Goddard & Cummins, “Ill or Ill-Treated?” 93-126

    -T Michael W Halcomb

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